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    Shop owner sentenced over sales of illicit vapes bought ‘in good faith’

    Photo: iStock

    By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

    The owner of a convenience store sold illegal vapes he had purchased from a Manchester wholesaler “in good faith.”

    Muhammad Nabaaz, who used to run Wibsey Local, appeared at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court on Thursday to be sentenced for a series of charges relating to the sale of illicit cigarettes and vapes.

    Earlier this year the business was ordered to pay £13,000 following the Trading Standards prosecution.

    The shop has since changed hands.

    And Nabaaz, 42 of Parkside Road, who has since sold the business, was this week ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work when he appeared in court over his role in the crime.

    Trading Standards had received numerous complaints that the store was selling illicit cigarettes, and an inspection in November 2021 found there to be numerous illegal items on sale.

    These included 898 packets of cigarettes in the wrong packaging, or without safety warnings, and 1,996 ecigs that contained too much fluid, or too high a concentration of tobacco.

    Current legislation allows e cigs to have a “tank capacity” of up to 2ml.

    Some of the ecigs found in the inspection had tanks with as much as 12ml.

    Others had much higher nicotine volumes than allowed.

    Referring to the illegal products, Mr Walsh, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards, said: “I hate to use the phrase ‘back of a fag packet estimate’ but the items seized would likely be worth between £30/31,000.”

    Mr Chowdhury, defending Nabaaz, said: “There is little I can say in his defence regarding the tobacco. The fact they were in the wrong packaging and had no health warnings would be apparent to anyone selling this.

    “But something can be said regarding the vapes.

    “Mr Nabaaz had run the shop for two years by then, and hadn’t sold vapes before. The shop was struggling, and so he looked to sell vapes to increase income.

    “He visited a warehouse in Manchester where these vapes were openly on sale, so he had no reason to believe these items were anything other than the genuine articles.

    “He purchased them in good faith not realising they are a very closely regulated item. It is difficult to tell between a legal and an illegal vape.”

    He said the seizure of the huge amount of stock “led to the demise” of the business, which the defendant had to sell.

    As well as being ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service, Nabaaz will have to pay £960 costs to Trading Standards.

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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